Smithsonian Castle

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Smithsonian Castle
View from top of Newseum

Nov 2016, Photo 106

Smithsonian Castle

The Smithsonian Institution Building, located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. behind the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery, houses the Smithsonian Institution's administrative offices and information center. The building is constructed of Seneca red sandstone in the faux Norman style (a 12th-century combination of late Romanesque and early Gothic motifs; built in the Gothic and Romanesque revival styles) and is nicknamed The Castle.

The Castle was the first Smithsonian building, designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., whose other works include St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, also in Washington D.C. The building committee held a nationwide design competition in 1846 and selected Renwick's design by a unanimous vote. A cardboard model of Renwick's winning design survives and is on display in the Castle. Renwick was assisted by Robert Mills, particularly in the internal arrangement of the building.

Nov 2016, Photo 344

Statue of Joseph Henry in front of the Smithsonian Castle.

The first Smithsonian Secretary, Joseph Henry, served from 1846 to 1878. A professor at the College of New Jersey, he was a physicist who conducted pioneering research in electromagnetism and helped set the Smithsonian on its course.

Nov 2016, Photo 335

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